Salt for Kidney Patients​


For preserving life, salt is a vital and crucial dietary mineral. Presently, there is debate regarding whether salt consumption has any positive or negative effects on those with chronic renal disease.

Your nephrologist likely advised you to limit your salt intake if you have chronic kidney disease. This is because consuming too much salt can raise blood pressure, which is terrible for those with renal disease. Maintaining a low-sodium diet is very beneficial for maintaining kidney health. The second most frequent cause of renal problems is excessive blood pressure.

But you might be questioning if I need to limit salt, which salts are suitable for renal sufferers. We’ll talk about the various salts in this article and how much sodium they contain. We will also discuss salt alternatives, including which ones to avoid and what to look for in a suitable option. Last but not least, we’ll offer advice on spicing your renal diet without additional salt.

About Acute Kidney Failure

  • The quick onset of acute renal failure, which can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days, is brought on by injury, infection, or blockage of the kidney. The kidneys’ performance will increase if the root problem is treated.
  • The kidneys filter the blood and excrete certain substances to maintain homeostasis in the body, which is essential for a healthy person in maintaining a consistent balance of fluid and electrolytes. Charged particles called electrolytes assist in transferring nerve and muscle impulses throughout the body.
  • The ratio of fluid to electrolytes might change as a result of renal dysfunction, which can result in an electrolyte imbalance. As a result, this may have a negative impact on the way that nerve and muscle impulses travel throughout the body.

What are Electrolytes?

When dissolved in the blood, electrolytes are microscopic particles that have an electric charge. By controlling the body’s concentrations of electrolytes, the kidneys aid in maintaining electrolyte levels. An electrolyte imbalance is frequently caused by any interruption in this process.

The various electrolytes include:

  1. Sodium: By preserving the equilibrium of fluids in the body, sodium plays a

significant function. It mostly affects how nerves and muscles work. Salt is ingested and excreted by the body, and it is also lost through perspiration and urine. When kidneys are working properly, they regulate how much sodium is expelled from the body to maintain a constant level. Hypernatremia or hyponatremia may result from an imbalance between sodium intake and excretion (Hyponatremia). Maintaining fluid and acid-base balance as well as neuromuscular function depend on sodium content. To avoid hypernatremia, healthy kidneys modify the salt excretion in urine.

Acute renal failure may prevent an individual from excreting as much salt as normal, leading to hypernatremia, which is accompanied by symptoms like:

  • Disorientation
  • Nerve twitching
  • Hypertension 
  • Weakness
  1. Potassium: For cells, neurons, and muscles to operate normally, potassium is required. Potassium is ingested by food and liquids and expelled largely through the urine, as well as through the digestive system and perspiration. Hyperkalemia (high potassium) or hypokalemia (low potassium) can result from potassium imbalances (Hypokalemia). The kidneys are largely in charge of excreting potassium from the body, and they modify their excretion rate in response to the blood potassium content at any given time.

Acute renal failure may prevent an individual from excreting as much potassium as normal, which might result in hyperkalemia. There are several signs and symptoms of hyperkalemia.

  • cramps in the abdomen
  • Fatigue
  • muscle tremor
  • Paralysis
  • Heart attack
  1. Phosphorus: Almost majority of the phosphorus in the body is coupled with oxygen to produce phosphate. Many compounds, including DNA and cell membranes, are constructed from phosphate. Food provides the body with phosphate, which it then excretes in urine and occasionally stool. Milk, egg yolks, chocolate, and soft drinks are foods that are high in phosphates. Phosphate imbalances can     be      either  too high    (Hyperphosphatemia)        or       too     low


  1. Calcium: The development of bones and teeth, contraction of muscles, appropriate enzyme activity, blood clotting, and maintenance of a regular heartbeat are just a few of the numerous jobs that calcium does. Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) and Calcitonin work together to keep the blood calcium level stable. The body transports calcium from bones into the blood to keep calcium levels stable. In contrast to calcitonin, which lowers blood calcium levels, PTH raises blood calcium levels. Both hypercalcemia and hypocalcemia are conditions marked by excessive calcium levels. Hypocalcemia is associated with symptoms such as:
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Arrhythmias
  • Demineralization of bones
  • Cardiac failure
  1. Magnesium: Magnesium is necessary for the development of bone and teeth as well as for the healthy operation of muscles and nerves. Hypomagnesemia is the result of too little magnesium and hypermagnesemia of too much magnesium. Due to inadequate elimination of the electrolyte, renal failure can also frequently raise the levels of magnesium in the blood. The following symptoms are linked to hypermagnesemia:
  • Hypotension
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Cardiac arrest

Increased potassium, phosphate, and magnesium levels as well as lower sodium and calcium levels may worsen renal failure.

Sodium: What is it?

Salt contains sodium, which has the ability to increase blood pressure. Table salt contains a significant amount of sodium, which is present naturally in food. As a result, if you have renal illness, it’s crucial to keep an eye on your salt intake. Although chloride is similarly crucial for good health, it does not have the same impact on blood pressure that sodium does.

What consequences might consuming too much salt cause?

When your kidneys are unhealthy, your body retains more fluid and salt. Ankle swelling, puffiness, increased blood pressure, shortness of breath, and/or fluid around your heart and lungs can all result from this.

What portion of my diet should be low in sodium?

The majority of Americans consume too much salt. A balanced diet shouldn’t include more than 2300 mg of salt daily. People with chronic renal disease should adhere to general health recommendations and keep their daily salt intake under 2,300 mg.

This is comparable to consuming one teaspoon of salt daily.

Some people may need to adhere to a tighter salt intake of 1,500–2,000 mg per day if they have high blood pressure, COPD, or other cardiovascular problems.

Why should I restrict my consumption of sodium?

For the equilibrium of bodily fluids, some sodium or salt is required. However, the following can occur when your kidneys are unable to regulate the balance of salt and water in your body:

  • thirst
  • fluid retention, and
  • pain from dialysis

You may manage these issues by consuming less salt.

Tips for reducing your sodium consumption

  • Use herbs and spices in place of salt when cooking. (For more ideas, see the

“Spice Up Your Cooking” section.)

  • Analyze the salt content of foods by reading the labels.
  • Avoid salt substitutes (such as potassium chloride) and especially low-sodium meals manufactured with salt replacements if you need to keep your potassium intake under control since they are rich in potassium.
  • Ask for items made without salt when dining out. Request gravy or sauce on the side; they may be high in salt and should only be consumed in moderation.
  • Use processed, frozen, and canned foods sparingly.

Reading Sodium Labels

  • Examining the salt level of meals and goods is crucial.
  • The nutrition information label on a portion of food will tell you how much salt is in it.
  • Sodium is usually shown directly above the column for Total Carbohydrates. Typically, it will list the percentage and the number of milligrams (mg) of sodium in each serving.
  • The percentage is calculated using the daily values as a foundation. The abbreviation for this will be “%DV.”
  • The recommended daily allowance for salt is 2,300 mg.

Information about how to read labels

Recognizing the terms:

  • Only a small quantity of sodium is included in each meal.
  • Only 35 mg of sodium or less per serving.
  • 140 mg or less of sodium per serving.
  • Reduced Sodium: Foods with a 25% reduction in sodium content.
  • Foods with at least a 50% reduction in salt are referred to as “light” or “lite” foods.
  • A simple guideline: If salt is among the first five components, the product contains too much sodium to be used.

Milligrams (mg) of salt are indicated on the Nutrition Facts labels of every food item. When reading the sodium information on the label, do the following actions:

  • Understand how much salt you can consume each day. Remember that 1 gram (g) contains 1000 milligrams (mg). For instance, if your diet plan calls for 2.3 grams of salt, your daily intake cap is 2300 milligrams. Think about the salt content of the other items you intend to eat during the day.
  • Check the label on the packaging. Verify the portion size. Per serving, nutritional data are indicated. How does this amount relate to your daily allotment as a

whole? In general, the choice of the item is poor if

  • It is not a wise decision if an item has 240 mg or more of salt per serving.

Types of Salt

The range of salts is astounding. Since salt is made of minerals that are found across the world, it may be obtained in many different places.

Among the most popular varieties of salt are:

  1. Table Salt
  2. Himalayan Pink Salt
  3. Himalayan Black Salt
  4. Black Hawaiian Sea Salt
  5. Smoked Salt
  6. Kosher Salt
  7. Flake Salt
  8. Sea Salt
  9. French Sea Salt
  10. Celtic Grey Sea Salt

Type of Salt Sodium per teaspoon Sodium per gram

Table Salt                2,320 milligrams

388 milligrams

Kosher Salt               1,120 milligrams

393 milligrams

Sea Salt                   1, 872 milligrams

375 milligrams

Pink Himalayan Salt 1,680 milligrams

368 milligrams

  • All of these salts would have the same amount of sodium by equivalent weight, even if the sodium content per teaspoon varies. However, a gram of sea salt and a gram of table salt both contain roughly 0.4 grams of sodium.
  • Because certain forms of salt contain bigger crystals than others, there is a variation in price per teaspoon. Fewer salt crystals may “fit” into the teaspoon measurement the bigger they are.
  • The mineral concentration also makes the most significant difference in salt alternatives. More trace elements, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and chloride, are present in sea salt variations.
  • It is essential to verify individual labels for the sodium concentration of salt because there are many different types of salt, depending on the kind and region from which it was gathered.

How can I lower my salt intake?

Instead of salt, you may flavor your cuisine with a variety of herbs and spices. Additionally, certain meals have more salt than others. For tips on how to lower the salt in your diet, see the table below:

  1. Limit the amount of salt and salt seasonings such as:
    • Table salt
    • Seasoning salt
    • Garlic salt
    • Onion salt
    • Celery salt
    • Lemon pepper
    • Lite salt, Meat tenderizer

Instead of these, you can use the following acceptable substitutes: Fresh garlic, fresh onion, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, lemon juice,

low-sodium/salt-free seasoning blends, vinegar

  1. Limit the amount of salty foods such as:
    • High Sodium Sauces (Barbecue sauce, steak sauce, Soy sauce, Teryaki sauce, Oyster sauce)
    • Salted Snacks (Crackers, Potato chips, Corn chips, Pretzels, Tortilla chips, Nuts, Popcorn, Sunflower seeds)

Instead of these, you can use the following acceptable substitutes:

  • Homemade or low-sodium sauces and salad dressings
  • Vinegar
  • Dry mustard
  • Unsalted crackers, popcorn, pretzels, tortilla, or corn chips
  1. Limit the amount of cured food such as:
  • Ham
  • Salt pork
  • Bacon
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles, pickle relish
  • Lox & Herring
  • Olives

Instead of these, you can use the following acceptable substitutes: Fresh beef, veal, pork, poultry, fish, eggs

  1. Limit the amount of luncheon meats such as:
    • Hot Dogs
    • Cold cuts, deli meats
    • Pastrami Sausage
    • Corned beef
    • Spam

Instead of these, you can use the following acceptable substitutes: Low-salt deli meats (if you need to limit phosphorus, these are likely high in phosphorus)

  1. Limit the amount of processed food items such as:
    • Buttermilk
    • Cheese


  • Soups
  • Tomato products
  • Vegetable juices
  • Canned vegetables

Convenience Foods such as:

  • TV Dinners
  • Canned raviolis
  • Canned Chili
  • Packaged Macaroni & Cheese
  • Canned Spaghetti
  • Commercial mixes
  • Frozen prepared foods
  • Fast foods

Instead of these, you can use the following acceptable substitutes:

  • Natural cheese (1-2 oz per week)
  • Homemade or reduced-sodium soups, canned food without added salt
  • Homemade casseroles without added salt, made with fresh or raw vegetables, fresh meat, rice, pasta, or no added salt canned vegetables

Some FAQs about salts for kidney patients:

Consuming too much salt raises the level of protein in the urine, which is a major risk factor for renal and cardiovascular disease. Those who have renal disease or are thought to be at risk for kidney disease or kidney failure should limit their salt consumption to no more than 6g per day. Simple adjustments, like eating fewer processed meals and reading product labels before buying, can help you achieve this. Whether a person has chronic kidney disease (CKD) that is still in its early stages or is receiving dialysis, high-sodium foods should be restricted on a kidney diet.

High blood pressure, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and other health problems are linked to salt overconsumption. Because of this, even if you prefer sea salt over other forms of salt, you should still use it sparingly, just like you would with any other salt.

Although salt is an essential component of every food, it should only be present in very small amounts in your diet if you want to enjoy the health benefits. Many of us start using artificial salt substitutes in our diets to reduce the negative effects of salt.

These salt replacements are not a good choice for renal disease sufferers. Due to their comparable tastes, many of these salt alternatives use potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride.

Although sodium is vital for maintaining life, it’s crucial to keep your salt intake under control. While salt is required in tiny amounts, too much of it can be harmful to your health.

People who are on a sodium-limited diet, or who have renal, heart, or liver problems, should watch their sodium intake and usage of any salt, including pink Himalayan salt, should be restricted.

  • Stop using salt shakers and/or salt in boxes.
  • When cooking, stay away from salt.
  • Observe all salt varieties, including sea salt.
  • Salt, pickling salt, kosher salt, and Himalayan pink salt all have about the same amount of sodium and affect your body in the same way
  • Reduce your intake of items like salty meat, snacks, processed meals, canned soups, pickles, and salted sauces that are hidden sources of sodium. ● You must study labels since hidden salt is present in many foods.

Salt replacements are ineffective because they are created using potassium. It is not safe to utilise these alternatives if you have renal problems. Using Mrs. Dash or McCormick spices (any flavour) would be best. Additionally, you may create your own recipe by combining your favorite herbs and spices.

Salt replacements can be used to create some salt-free foods. This implies that they are potassium-rich. For instance, potassium may be included in salt-free cheese. The use of ordinary, firm cheese is preferable. Products labeled “salt-free” may be deceptive. When you compare serving sizes, for instance, canned soups with less than 1% sodium may contain the same amount as a traditional soup.

  • Drink lemonade, fruit juice, low sodium mineral water, coffee, tea, and water. Discuss your daily fluid intake limit and appropriate fluid options with your nutritionist.
  • Snacks, crackers, and cookies: Pick up unsalted-top crackers.
  • Replace nuts and potato chips with unsalted pretzels, chips, and popcorn.
  • Use herbs and spices to add flavour.
  • Milk, cheese, and other dairy products: Replace processed cheese spreads and slices with block cheese. Don’t eat feta or blue cheese.
  • Desserts: Gelatin or sorbet should be your choice.
  • Use unsalted butter or margarine for fats and oils. Use these spreads or oils over bread, vegetables, potatoes, and salads after seasoning them.
  • Choose fresh or frozen produce for your fruits and veggies. There is no salt added to certain canned veggies. Check for the “No Added Salt” label.
  • Use fresh roast beef, turkey, or chicken for sandwiches when making meat and protein-rich dishes. As they contain a lot of salt, stay away from cured, smoked, and pickled meats like bologna, salami, and corned beef.
  • Condiments and salad dressings: Make your own salad dressings.
  • Use herb-flavored vinegar. In the summer, you may make your own flavoured oils with fresh herbs and garlic that you can use all year.
  • Use celery seeds, fresh garlic, onion flakes, and garlic powder as seasonings.
  • Steer clear of seasoned salts like celery salt, onion salt, and garlic salt.
  • Make your own soup, please. Do not use standard soup bases, bouillon cubes, or powder.
  • Create your own soup. For flavour, avoid using bouillon cubes, powder, or standard soup bases. Utilize broths or soup bases devoid of salt. Add flavour by using herbs and spices.

Because salt tends to elevate blood pressure, increase fluid retention, and create significant health problems, people with the renal disease need to be very careful about the quantity of sodium in their meals. You can work with your nutritionist to develop a low-sodium eating regimen suitable for you. By reducing your intake of foods that are rich in sodium, you may enhance your general health.

Although salt is necessary for your body to operate, having chronic kidney disease (CKD) makes it dangerous to consume too much sodium. Usually, salt aids in preserving your body’s proper fluid balance. But as CKD progresses, your kidneys cannot filter out extra fluid and salt. The accumulation of salt and fluid in your body can raise blood pressure and exacerbate kidney disease.

Your nephrologist may recommend that you adopt a low-sodium diet, which includes restricting salt and other sodium-containing foods if you have CKD or need dialysis.

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